Dr Eric Taylor Woods
Lecturer in Sociology
School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)
In my research, I use insights from cultural sociology to explore how ideas and institutions develop through time, and how they impact upon, and are impacted by, social action. More specifically, I have explored these themes in relation to ethnicity, nationalism, and colonialism. Currently, I am co-writing a book for Oxford University Press, which examines the historical antecedents of the so-called 'new' nationalism in the West. To do so, I am conducting a comparative content analysis of the Twitter communication of political leaders in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. Research for the book is funded by grants from the British Academy and the Social Science Research Council of Canada.
In addition to my role at Plymouth University, I serve as a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University, and I am an editor of the journals Cultural Sociology and Nations and Nationalism. I am also a founding editor of The State of Nationalism, an open-access portal that reviews key themes in the study of nationalism. Prior to joining Plymouth University, I was based at the University of East London. I hold a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
I was raised in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a culturally divided region that has yet to chart a path towards a post-colonial future. Several years ago, my wife died while pregnant. The following year, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. These experiences impressed upon me how much my career as an academic to that point had depended upon a healthy body and mind. I am trying now to find alternative ways of pursuing my career. In doing so, I have become aware of just how remarkable differently abled people truly are - indeed, as is anyone who has sought to overcome significant challenges in their lives.
If you are interested in pursuing a PhD with me, please feel free to get in touch. I currently have funds in place to pay PhD students for part-time research assistance for the next few years.
I have extensive experience teaching a wide range of themes in sociology, political science, and communication & media studies. Currently, I am responsible for the teaching of social research methods and social theory for students enrolled in the BSc (Hons) in Sociology. Prior to joining Plymouth University, I taught at the University of East London, Birkbeck College, and the London School of Economics.
My main research project currently is a comparative analysis of the Twitter communication of ethno-nationalist leaders in America, France, and the UK. This research is funded by competitive grants from the British Academy and the Social Science Research Council of Canada. I carry out this research in collaboration with Dr Robert Schertzer (University of Toronto), and with the assistance of an international team of PhD researchers. The first major output from this project will be a monograph with Oxford University Press (forthcoming 2021). I also recently published with Dr Schertzer an article in Ethnic and Racial Studies, which analyses nearly 6,000 of Trump’s tweets. A subsequent article comparing Trump’s Tweets with those of Marine Le Pen and Leave.eu is under preparation.
My research interests also include an abiding concern with the politics of trauma and memory in the former British Empire. For example, my recent article in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology (2019) proposes a new framework for analyzing memory politics through an analysis of Tate Britain’s 2016 ‘Artist and Empire.’ The article provides a new understanding of struggles over Britain’s imperial past, and prospects for a postcolonial national identity. My recent book for Palgrave (2016) traces a long-running struggle over collective responsibility within Canadian Anglicanism over their role in the forced assimilation and abuse of Indigenous Canadians. The book provided the basis for the 2019 ‘Tri-History’ conference – the leading conference for Anglican history in North America.
- Woods, Eric Taylor, Liah Greenfeld, Chris Hughes, Cynthia Miller-Idriss & Robert Schertzer (2020) 'Nationalism and COVID-19: A Scholarly Exchange'. Nations and Nationalism. Online first: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nana.12644
- Schertzer, Robert & Eric Taylor Woods. 2020. ‘#Nationalism: The Role of Ethno-nationalist Populism in Donald Trump’s Twitter Communication’, Ethnic and Racial Studies. Online First: https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2020.1713390
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2019). ‘The Anatomy of Memory Politics: A Formalist Analysis of Tate Britain’s Artist and Empire and the Struggle over Britain’s Imperial Past’, American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Online First: DOI: 10.1057/s41290-019-00081-y.
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2019). ‘Cultural Trauma: Ron Eyerman and the Founding of a New Research Paradigm’, American Journal of Cultural Sociology. 7(2): 260-74.
Woods, Eric Taylor. (2015). ‘Cultural Nationalism: a Review and Annotated Bibliography’, Studies on National Movements, 2: 1-26.
Woods, Eric Taylor and Mira Debs. (2013). ‘Towards a Cultural Sociology of Nationalism Studies’, Nations and Nationalism 19(4): 607-14.
Woods, Eric Taylor & Mira Debs. (Eds.) 2013. ‘Themed Section on Cultural Sociology and Nationalism Studies’, Nations and Nationalism 19(4).
Woods, Eric Taylor. (2013). ‘A Cultural Approach to a Canadian Tragedy: The Indian Residential Schools as a Sacred Enterprise’, International Journal of Politics, Society and Culture 26(2): 173-187.
Woods, Eric Taylor. (2012). ‘Beyond Multinational Federalism: Reflections on Nations and Nationalism in Canada’, Ethnicities, 12(3): 270-92.
Woods, Eric Taylor & Robert Schertzer. (2011). ‘Ethno-national Conflict and its Management’, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 49(2): 153-161. [Reprinted in Woods et al., Nationalism and Conflict Management]
Woods, Eric Taylor & Robert Schertzer (Eds.) 2011. ‘Special Issue on Nationalism and Conflict Management’, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 49(2). [Reprinted in Woods et al., Nationalism and Conflict Management]
Schertzer, Robert. & Eric Taylor Woods. (2011). ‘Beyond Multinational Canada’, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 49(2): 196-222.
- Woods, Eric Taylor & Robert Schertzer. (Forthcoming, 2021). ‘The New Nationalism in America and Beyond’ – under contract with Oxford University Press.
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2016). A Cultural Sociology of Anglican Mission and the Indian Residential Schools in Canada: The Long Road to Apology. Palgrave.
- Tsang, Rachel & Eric Taylor Woods (Eds.) 2014. The Cultural Politics of Nationalism and Nation-Building: Ritual and Performance in the Forging of Nations. Routledge.
- Woods, Eric Taylor & Robert Schertzer (Eds.) 2012. Nationalism and Conflict Management. Routledge.
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2019). ‘Conclusion: Ron Eyerman and the Study of Cultural Trauma’, in R. Eyerman, Memory, Trauma, and Identity. Palgrave.
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2017). ‘On the Making of a National Tragedy: The Transformation of the Meaning of the ‘Indian Residential Schools’ in Canada’, in B-Y. Capitaine & Karine Vanthuyne (Eds.) Power Through Testimony: Reframing Residential Schools in the Age of Reconciliation. University of British Columbia Press.
- Woods, Eric Taylor. (2016). ‘Cultural Nationalism’, in Jeffrey C. Alexander & David Inglis (Eds.) The Sage Reader in Cultural Sociology. Sage.
- Woods, E.T. & Tsang, R. (2014). ‘Ritual and Performance in the Study of Nations and Nationalism’, in Tsang, R. and Woods, E.T. (Eds.) The Cultural Politics of Nationalism and Nation-Building: Ritual and Performance in the Forging of Nations. Routledge.